Jeanette was born in San Luis Obispo, halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco when her parents lived in Santa Margarita, right in the heart of what is now the booming Central Coast Wine Country. Her dad took a job with the County of Santa Cruz when Jeanette was in the 3rd grade, so from then until she graduated high school, she lived in Capitola, another beautiful region of the state. She came back to San Luis Obispo to go to Cal Poly State University and started her television career here at KSBY-TV where she fell in love with the beauty of the area; its activities, beaches and yes, its wine country.
But she left in 1994 to pursue her career, spending years at KCCI-TV in Des Moines, Iowa covering everything from presidential politics to the Iowa State Fair. She hosted a nationally syndicated home, travel, design and garden show for Better Homes and Gardens (BHG-TV) where she traveled to different cities and did shows with Chefs such as Mario Batali (Malto Mario) and Michael Chiarello (Napa Style). She took a job with WCCO-TV in Minneapolis, Minnesota where she spent five years on her final stop “down the yellow brick road” as she likes to say. And in 2009, as she was about to take another broadcasting job in another city to the north, she paid a visit back to the Central Coast and realized she didn’t want to wait any longer to come back to the place she ultimately wanted to spend the rest of her life.
A message from Jeanette:
I always realized how beautiful it was here. But I have a new appreciation for it after my years away. I can remember coming home for holidays or to visit my family and aching with this longing to return.
Well, since I made the move at the beginning of 2010, I’ve been re-discovering all that is so special about the place I call home. And I love sharing it with people from the places who did the same for me along my journey and made it such a memorable one. It’s hard to explain how grateful I am to Iowans and Minnesotans and to all the people at Better Homes and Gardens. They showed me the magic of their homes and because of it, I have a part of my heart in those places.
Ruby Shoes is my way of trying to do the same for them. I’ve done it on a one-to-one basis for a few people who have e-mailed and come this way, but my hope this will make it easier for folks from other areas to discover the part of California that is largely undiscovered to other regions of the country (and in my humble opinion is the best part!) And it also makes it easier for locals who have literally 400 or so wineries in their own backyards to spend their free time wisely, by sampling the wines from the comfort of home and knowing someone who has checked a lot of them out and has some recommendations.
I also love nature and the outdoors and have a whole list of things you can do with your free time here that will make you feel like you had a vacation even if it is all in your own backyard. And if you’re visiting, you’ll be wanting to book your next trip because you couldn’t pack it all in.
I really do feel like Dorothy who has returned home from an AMAZING journey and realized Oz is right in my own backyard. But I want to bring the Scarecrow, Lion, Tinman, and all the rest of the characters and friends I met along the way back to see this amazing place and introduce them to my pals “back on the farm.” So this is how I’m aiming to do it. Friends meet my friends through Ruby Shoes. And I’m betting it’s going to be quite a gathering of good and fun people.
So cheers. And here’s to the journey! Thank you all for being part of mine.
P.S. It’s hard to explain to the magic of seeing an open field of sparkling fireflies on an Iowa summer evening to a Californian who’s never seen that. Or how fun a weekend on the middle of a frozen Lake Mille Lacs with friends, a few ice huts and short fishing poles can be. Horse Races at Prairie Meadows and Canterbury, dancing to the World’s Greatest Polka Band at Nye’s on a Friday night, “North Shore” weekends, the 4th of July in small Iowa towns, seeing the Isisisseretttes rock a small town celebration.…the list could go on and on. Iowans and Minnesotans showed me all that and more, and I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart. Though there is no place like home, I am incredibly grateful for those magic memories and the wonderful people who gave them to me. I love and miss you all!